Racism In Désirée's Baby

883 Words4 Pages

Throughout “Désirée’s Baby” by Kate Chopin, slavery and racism play a massive role in how the characters, particularly Armand Aubigny, interact with one another. In Armand’s case, he believes that he holds one of the oldest, proudest, and whitest names in nineteenth century Louisiana. The pride cached within the Aubigny legacy comes to dictate his life and virtually every drastic decision he makes; he appears to live in constant fear of having his name tarnished. His reputation and pride are established as his driving force, but also contribute to a hatred of anyone who is colored. He wills a strict and ominous slave ownership into reality as a result of this irrational fear and overabundance of pride. In her short story, Chopin uses the literary …show more content…

However, the birth of his son appears to have moved him and this strictness seems to vanish instantly. During Madame Valmondé’s visit to L’Abri, Désirée explains how Armand has yet to punish a slave since the birth of their son. Along with Désirée’s testimony to Armand’s newly discovered compassion, Chopin writes that “Marriage, and later the birth of his son had softened Armand Aubigny’s imperious and exacting nature greatly” (2). The temporary joy upon the plantation soon falls to Armand’s pride and he violently returns to his imposing nature as his son’s age approaches three months; during this time his child’s skin tone darkens and it becomes apparent that the child contains mixed origins. He immediately begins to suspect Désirée, as his unwavering certainty in his heritage boosts the white pride and privilege cradled within his soul. Armand becomes enraged at the sight of his mixed child, and begins to relinquish this rage upon his slaves, with Chopin writing that the “very spirit of Satan” overtook him in how he dealt with them. Désirée, directly in Armand’s crosshairs on behalf of her obscure origins and his white pride, will soon shiver in his coldness and be kept powerless by his

Show More
Open Document